x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Imran Khan lauds ICC move to ban political appointments in boards

The world body has given cricket boards 12 months to implement free elections and another 12-month grace period to enact the changes before any sanctions would be considered.

Imran Khan, Pakistan's legendary former captain, yesterday welcomed a decision from cricket's governing body to ban political appointments, calling for a total revamp of the national board.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) executive board yesterday gave cricket boards 12 months to implement free elections and another 12-month grace period to enact the changes before any sanctions would be considered.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), whose chairman Ijaz Butt was appointed by the country's president, was not immediately reachable for comment but it has threatened legal action in the past if the constitution is changed.

Imran, one of Pakistan's most vocal opposition politicians and who founded the Tehrik-e-Insaaf (Movement for Justice) after retiring from cricket in 1992, welcomed the amendment.

He said that the PCB now had a chance to become a real institution if the system was overhauled.

"The amendment will help Pakistan as there is no transparency and accountability in the current set-up," Imran said. "But to gain full benefit, Pakistan must fix the cricket structure with a new constitution on regional grounds where officials are elected."

The former all-rounder said the changes could allow Pakistan to perform better. "If we have our cricket structure right, Pakistan has more talent than anywhere in the world, and we will dominate the world," Imran, who led Pakistan to their only World Cup title in 1992, said.

Haroon Lorgat, the ICC chief executive, said the reform was needed to bring cricket into line with standards seen in other global sports. "This is a significant step towards achieving best practice and together with the independent governance review, I am excited by the commitment of the ICC to introduce best possible corporate governance," Lorgat said.